March 2004

There is some good budget news for MPS students for fiscal year 2005. According to the MPS Update weekly news e-mail, there will be about a $201-per-pupil increase in funding allocated to schools. That jump, to $5,629, is by far the biggest in recent years. From fiscal year 2002 to fiscal year 2003, for instance, the per pupil allocation rose just $7; from 2003 to 2004, it rose $13. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . The Program and Outreach Committee of SAGE, Senior Action in a Gay Environment, is looking for event and activity ideas. If you have an event you’d like them to schedule, please contact them through their website at or call 414/224-0517 x2. SAGE also has volunteer opportunities listed on its webpage. Challenger David Riemer took on County Executive incumbent Scott Walker in a debate February 24 at UWM. The debate focused primarily on each candidate’s record regarding taxes and budget creation, as well as transportation issues, parks issues, lakefront development, and school choice. Riemer agressively attacked Walker’s record, pointing out what he says are inconsistencies in Walker’s message of fiscal responsibility. Walker and Riemer pointed blame at each other for their resepctive roles in state and city government in causing the county’s current budget crunch. In a post-primary press release, Riemer says he was pleased with his 36% of the vote to Walker’s 60%. “When I think of where we were seven weeks ago . . . I know this is winnable,” Riemer said. Riemer has also asked Walker to sign a statement committing to stay in office the entire four-year term if re-elected; Walker has not signed. There is speculation Walker could run for governor in 2006. For a schedule of upcoming debates, check out . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . March 20 is a “Global Day of Action” on the first anniversary of the U.S. bombing and invasion of Iraq. Major demonstrations are scheduled across the country, including Milwaukee. Peace Action is organizing a Milwaukee event downtown at the sunburst sculpture at noon. Peace Action’s George Martin is a board member of the national Peace group that is organizing these events in various cities. The Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District’s practice of mixing partially treated sewage with untreated sewage poses significant health threats for the City of Milwaukee, according to data released as part of a national report by the Natural Resources Defense Council, Friends of Milwaukee’s Rivers, and the Lake Michigan Federation. The report, “Swimming in Sewage,” features seven case studies from around the country that illustrate how exposure to sewage has killed or seriously injured people and harmed local economies. The groups have said this practice represents a departure from current treatment standards and would violate the Clean Water Act. The Bush administration recently introduced a proposal that would legalize blending. Joan Rose, an expert on waterborne illness from Michigan State University, says that the risk of contracting giardiasis, a water-borne pathogen, from blended wastewater is 1000 times higher than from fully treated wastewater. Anyone up for a swim? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Riverwest resident and activist Jan Schopf passed away on February 11, 2004. A memorial service was held February 21 at the Friends Meeting House. Her husband, Jeff Becker, her daughters, Heather Lueck and Heidi Lueck, and her mother Virginia Schopf (Graf) led the room full of relatives and friends in remembering Jan. Jan worked for many causes during her life. Her dedication to women’s rights and community work were mentioned by her friends. She was an avid gardener, and her front yard is a testimony to that and will live on to keep her memory alive. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Citizens Allied for Sane Highways (CASH) has announced another partner in its anti-freeway expansion coalition, the Milwaukee County Conservation Coalition, a broad-based group of organizations and individuals concerned about environmental and conservation issues. In February, the County Board voted, 24-1, to ask for a study of potential funding options for a regional transportation authority that could coordinate transportation efforts and funding in the area. The board resolution specifically named the Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission as the agency that would do the study. SEWRPC is the author of the unfunded $6 billion-plus freeway expansion plan that CASH says would devastate Milwaukee and Milwaukee County, while encouraging sprawl and over-development in outlying counties. County Supervisor Sheila Aldrich was the only supervisor to vote against the measure. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . There is a near neighbor workshop and planning session for Snail’s Crossing neighborhood park on the 3000 block of North Bremen Street scheduled for Saturday, March 6, from 9 a.m. to noon at Beginning Dreams Studio. Pizza will be served at noon, the antennae sculptures will be in the studio, and the banners for the park should be done and on display. The meeting will also include planning for the park renovation celebration and art projects. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Riverwest Winter parking regulations will likely change in some areas if a measure introduced by Ald. Mike D’Amato in the Public Safety Committee passes the Common Council March 2. The street segements approved for following the two-inch rule, rather than alternate side parking, were N. Bremen St. from E. North Ave. to E. Burleigh St., N. Fratney St. from E. Meinecke Ave. to E. Locust St., N. Pierce St. from E. Meinecke Ave. to E. Burleigh St. Before it gets too late and the weather gets warm, take your bike for a spin on the “Frozen Snot Ride” at Fuel Cafe Saturday, March 6, at 9 a.m. Bikers can freeze their snot all the way to Lula’s Cafe (10 a.m. stop), Evan’s Place (11 a.m.) and Palomino at 12:30 p.m. for the Daytona 200. Snow date is March 13, same schedule. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Birth Announcement Bill Bunyan and Wendy Mesich would like to announce the birth of their daughter Scout Elizabeth Mesich. She was born on Valentines Day at 1:28 p.m. 9 lbs. 10oz 22in.